India has over 35 per cent of the world’s total illiterate population. [UNESCO Education for All Report 2008] Only 66 per cent people are literate in India (76 per cent men and 54 per cent women)
About 40 million primary school-age children in India are not in school. More than 92 % children cannot progress beyond secondary school. According to reports, 35 per cent schools don’t have infrastructure such as blackboards and furniture. And close to 90 per cent have no functional toilets. Half of India’s schools still have leaking roofs or no water supply.
An Educational Consultants of India/HRD ministry-sponsored survey by IMRB’s Social and Rural Research Institute puts the number of out-of-school children at 81 lakh or 4.22% of children in the age group of 6 to 13 years.
While the reduction in the number of out-of-school children is good news, the survey points to a disturbing trend in terms of drop out percentage by class. At an all-India level drop outs are highest in class 2 and 3, at 19.6% and 19.5%, respectively. It rises to 19.2% in class 5 (19.2%) after a brief lull in class 4 ( at 16.1%). The pattern is the same for both rural and urban areas. Though the drop out rates are much higher in the urban areas — in class 2 the drop out rate is 24.7% and in class 3 it is 22.7%. There is some good news, the drop out rate at the end of elementary school that is class 8 is at 2.4%; here the rate is lower for the urban areas (1.2%) than for rural areas (2.6%).
In keeping with the popular perception that private schools deliver better education than government ones, the survey found a slight increase in the number of children attending private schools—from 23% in 2005 to 25.6% in 2009. This is accompanied by a decline in number of children in government schools—from 74.5% in 2005 to 73.1% in 2009. However, there is evidence of a growing discernment —percentage of children in unrecognised private schools declined from 1.9% in 2005 to 0.70% in 2009.
Despite reductions, the percentage of out of school children among the Muslims (7.67%), Scheduled Castes (5.96%) and Scheduled Tribes (5.6%) continues to be much higher than the national average of 4.22%. The gap between the percentage of out school children among SCs and Sts and the national average has been substantially reduced—in 2005, when the national average was 6.94%, the percentage of out-of school children among Scheduled Castes was at 8.17%, while among Scheduled Tribes it was 9.54%.
While there has been a reduction in the percentage of out-of school children among Muslims, the gap between the national average of out of school children and that among Muslim has risen marginally. It was at 9.97% among Muslims in 2005, when the national average was 6.94%. While in 2009, the gap is marginally higher by 0.42%—among Muslims, out school children account for 7.67%, when the national average is at 4.22%.
Japan has 4,000 universities for its 127 million people and the US has 3,650 universities for its 301 million, India has only 348 universities for its 1.2 billion people. In the prestigious Academic Ranking of World Universities by Institute of Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong, only two Indian Universities are included. Even those two IITs in India found only a lower slot (203-304) in 2007 report. Although Indian universities churn out three million graduates a year, only 15% of them are suitable employees for blue-chip companies. Only 1 million among them are IT professionals.